Monthly Archives: June 2008

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The $400 bra (not accounting for inflation)

Heard this epic bra story on NPR this morning. Fell in love with Ms. Betty Jenkins of Cincinnati, Ohio. Promised myself I wouldn’t wear plutonium push-up bra on flight to Portugal.

I am leaving you; don’t try to follow me

Dearest readers,

You may have heard rumors about my selling the Cuisinart, buying a plane ticket to the Old World, and alighting on that continent for the remainder of the summer.

The rumors are true. The bbf and I leave for Cascais, Portugal, in a week. Do not try to follow me. Do not try to keep me here in Virginia. Your anguished tears cannot prevent the inevitable. Your impoverished feet cannot walk across the ocean. Your nine-to-five physiques cannot adapt to surfing and lounging as well as mine.

I can see that you are concerned. Will there be enough for me to eat? I’ve looked into it, and I think so. Do Portuguese Wal-Marts stock 12-packs of Fresca? Probably not, but I will try to deal. Will the native people give me the respect I deserve as a blogger? If they know what’s good for them. Finally, will the denizens of Cascais judge me harshly for being a spoiled American tourist who has not yet bothered to learn the language? Perhaps they would, if the language of tawdry string bikinis from American Apparel wasn’t so universal. I will also bring my George W. Bush baseball cap and matching “W” earrings, because I heard foreigners love the guy.

So, dear readers, this would be the end of Us, but I hear the internet is global now and not just installed in Virginia. In addition, I am sun-intolerant and will probably be spending most of my vacation in a Portuguese computer lab complaining about the lack of Fresca. Elizabeth Barrett Browning I am not.



Satisfying sound of the day

A fresh bagel, hurled by a bagel-boy, hitting the side of a car filled with college chicks. Thwap!

I am dragging Michael Ian Black into my windowless van and driving him some place really special so we can finally have some alone-time

Michael Ian Black, the man previously best known for his Taco Flavored Dorito work, is now featured in my blogroll. He’s finally achieved the superstar status he always wanted.

I like Black’s website because he uses it to 1) publish and review his four-year-old daughter’s short stories; 2) promote drinking, gambling, and Don Cheadle; and 3) publicly challenge David Sedaris’s sissy book sales with his own My Custom Van (And 46 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face).

Here is your chance to cheer on David as he battles Goliath, Goliath being the petite gay man with the glasses. Here is your chance to root for the underdog, the underdog being the hunky, six-foot-tall comedian with an illustrious television career and a devoted nuclear family, the overdog being the bookish Frenchman with the shoes made out of baguettes.

You people are sick

I’ve put off doing this long enough. I now give you the various search terms that people have put into Google to find my website. These are all legit — straight from my stats page.

“do grown men use baby wipes”
“meth addict dating”
“why are men afraid to have a baby?”
“wife arm wrestling”
“naked children”*
“long pinky nail Mexican man”
“how to shave wistar”**
“she tasted like pumpkin pie”
“my little brother is afraid of babies”
“people giving birth in a hot tub”
“i can has bukkit”
“nova scotia rug hooking blogs”
“she tickled my scrotum”
“my puppy swallowed a bolt”
“untraceable way to kill a maple tree”
“evil fairies”
“fake nail in food”
“biohazard suit”
“show me a walmart shopping list”

I have never been so proud of my blog as I am today.

*This one has been appearing on my stats page from day 1, and it frightens me.

**I assume this Googler is interested in shaving the Wistar rat and not my hairy legs, but you can never be sure.

This post is not about sports–it’s about men who play sports

Today Russia beat the Netherlands in double overtime, thereby advancing to the next round of the European Cup. Because I hate it when members of my family rattle on about end zones and face-offs and field goals without telling me what sport they’re discussing, let me first clarify that I’m talking about soccer. For all my European readers, that’s the same as hockey. This afternoon both teams played well, and handsomely (in a preppy, Aryan sort of way). The Swiss stadium crowd was alternately painted, shirtless, exulted, devastated, and drunk. When I wasn’t reading the paper at the bar, I hung on the television announcer’s every word.

European sportscasters are a different breed than American sportscasters. They’re content to be informative and not intrusive. They’re staid and earnest and they have great accents. But this afternoon, in the midst of heroic and impassioned play, the European Cup announcer was forced to say the following: “Make sure to tune in tonight to Camp Rock, the feature film debut of the Jonas Brothers on the Disney Channel!” It’s like all of a sudden the Ultimate Fighting Championship was interrupted by an advertisement for Snapple Light or flavored mascara.

I laughed, I cried, then I went back to reading the clinical trial ads in my newspaper. But suddenly I could sense mens’ hairdos growing longer and silkier and more perfumed all around me. I could sense the Zinedine Zidanes of the world turning into David Beckhams. And I wanted to smell the anguished sweat of defeat on the Dutch soccer jerseys before buckets of Axe Bodyspray drowned it out.

I guess I am old-fashioned.

A tribute to reading

Bookforum’s links are amazing

It’s like they were written specifically for me. In the past 24 hours, Bookforum’s links range from interviews about politics with Playboy Bunnies to a comparison of Nietzsche and Derrida to a defense of rom-com fiction to an interview with Jhumpa Lahiri to an analysis of Lil Wayne’s new rap album. And they do that every damn day. While the Bookforum people have already scoured the internet for the most transfixing news in the world, I’m still chewing on my morning toothbrush and trying to figure out what the headless people in my dream signify. But because Bookforum knows me so well, they will probably link to my personal dream diary tomorrow. Those people either employ some extremely weak or some extremely powerful search engines; they can somehow access my whole brain.

Bound to be jaded eventually

I’ve now been blogging long enough on the outskirts of the lit-blog circle to know that the same links are passed from blog to blog, we’re all competing to blog first about identical material, and only .0001 percent of us are getting book deals.

I love the immediate gratification of posting – I still get a rush from publishing online instead of in my diary – but I often wonder why exactly I’m in this game. Is it all just an exercise in egoism? Am I after 21st century microfame? It’s funny how you have a blog for five minutes, and suddenly you think you’re a superstar like Tila Tequila. At first the exposure feels validating, and then you wonder what you’re exposing, and why. And then you remind yourself that these are irrelevant questions because only a handful of people read your blog.

But you encounter the same questions whenever you put something into the world. Who needs another rock song? Another short story? Another painting? For the most part, no one. Creative work can be appreciated, but there will never be enough people on Planet Earth to idolize the people who need to be idolized. So why do we produce this crap? Because we’re driven? Compulsive? Inspired? Desperate? Why did I decide to make a blog instead of filling up another wine-sotted composition book?

Because people need people, and art needs people, and blather needs people, and I need my handful of readers to know that I exist in the world, and not just on my couch, even if I’m just telling them what they already know from reading Gawker. But what kind of self-obsessed world is this that we feel we don’t exist without a public presence? It’s the kind of world that thrives on the micro-celebrity of its inhabitants. I have a dialogue in my dumb novel:

“I guess I wanted to be famous,” she said. “I found something I could do well and I wanted recognition for it.”
“Everyone wants to be famous, Jess.”
“Well, I wanted to be famous in my family.”

The world is getting smaller, and the extended families bigger, and we have an inner circle that comprises at least our Facebook and MySpace friends. We need to impress more people now than ever in order to be important. And this post started as a lament on how everyone always scoops my stories, but now it is something else. Now it is me being lonely, looking for answers in the blogosphere, where we have all learned the hard way they can’t be found.

PS Here’s a page of more Deep Thoughts.

What Would Emily Gould Do?

“WWEGD?” I ask myself in the midst of a major personal issue. Emily Gould would blog it to high heaven. But I am a woman who first revels in, then learns from, other peoples’ mistakes. Hence I will not blog about what’s On My Mind. Blogging about not blogging about something is a happy compromise. Says Emily:

I think most people who maintain blogs are doing it for some of the same reasons I do: they like the idea that there’s a place where a record of their existence is kept — a house with an always-open door where people who are looking for you can check on you, compare notes with you and tell you what they think of you. Sometimes that house is messy, sometimes horrifyingly so. In real life, we wouldn’t invite any passing stranger into these situations, but the remove of the Internet makes it seem O.K.

Borrowing this metaphor, I am hereby installing a security system on my blog house. Even though there’s nothing inside to steal but old New Yorkers and sticks of organic deodorant, you now must know a 14-digit code to enter. I also bought a pitbull and some floodlights. There might be booby traps in the garden. But their main purpose is to keep me safely inside, eyes always peering through the window blinds, finger always poised over the burglar alarm.